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How to Hook an Agent (Children's Fiction)

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17th June 2017 - 9:30am to 2:30pm



Join us for an intimate lunch in the beautiful Georgian surroundings of Bloomsbury, London.

Are you writing a book for publication but unsure of how to find an agent? This intimate half-day event with four literary agents will give you insider knowledge on how to submit your manuscript to an agent, what they’re looking for and how to grab their attention. This event is specifically for writers with manuscripts aimed at children under 12, including picture book writers. With a networking lunch and a chance for a one-to-one with the agent of your choice, you’ll receive direct  feedback on how best to hook your agent. 

Held in the historic literary surroundings of Bloomsbury at Bloomsbury Publishing, home to authors including Margaret Atwood and J.K. Rowling, this is your chance to get noticed.


9.30-10.00 Morning refreshments and a chance to meet fellow members of the group you will be attending the morning sessions with.

10.00-10.40 A how-to session on knowing when your novel is ready, finding the right agent and what to include in a submission package.

10.45-11.25 Advice on how to pitch your novel (a short exercise where you can talk about your own work is included in this section).

11.30-12.30 Agents discuss what appeals to them in a submission, with real examples and case studies from both successful and unsuccessful submissions.

12.30-1.00 Both groups will come together for an open networking session with drinks and lunch

1.00-2.30 You will have a 10-minute one-to-one session (the last session will begin at 2.30) with one of the agents and an opportunity to try out the pitch for your book, ask questions and receive feedback.

Agent profiles

Danielle Zigner - LBA Books

After reading Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University Danielle spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies. In 2014 she joined the team at LBA as a Junior Agent, and have since been actively building her list.

Danielle's heartland lies with Young Adult literature, and she's open to all genres within that. She would  love to find some quirky YA, as well as some YA romance and fantasy.

For middle graders, Danielle is after adventure stories and mysteries that capture the imagination. And of course, books that make her laugh.

Hannah Sheppard - DHH Literary Agency

Hannah Sheppard studied English Literature at the University of Liverpool where she set up a small poetry press in her spare time. She has since spent over a decade working in trade publishing: first at Macmillan Children’s Books and more recently running Headline Publishing Group’s YA and crossover list where she published Tanya Byrne’s critically acclaimed Heart-Shaped Bruise.

She joined the DHH Literary Agency in 2013 because she realised that being an agent gave her more time to do what she loves most – using her editorial experience to help writers develop their ideas for commercial success.

Hannah represents authors across children’s fiction (from 9+ including teen and YA but no picture books) and a small number of adult fiction authors (her main interests are thrillers and romance). She likes stories that push the boundaries, have a strong voice and, often, a dark edge – although she’d love to find a great contemporary romance too.​

Sarah Such - Sarah Such Literary Agency

Shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year in The British Book Awards in 2017, Sarah Such has worked in book publishing since 1990, initially in roles across editorial, marketing and press including; marketing assistant at Random House Children's Books, Marketing and Publicity Manager of Chatto & Windus, Publicity Director of Penguin UK, Senior Editor at Hodder & Stoughton and Editorial Director at Duckworth.

She founded Sarah Such Literary Agency in 2007, a leading independent literary agency focussing on debut novels and original new writers across both literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction, YA and Children's books (including illustrated), since when she's been shortlisted twice consecutively for Literary Agent of the Year at The Bookseller Industry Awards in 2013 and 2014.

Children's Fiction: Sarah looks primarily for original and vivid storytellers by writers and illustrators whose voice is distinct, contemporary and relevant, whatever genre and age group the work is aimed at. We want to be surprised, delighted and excited bu winning children's fiction submission. 

Authors include: Tony De Saulles, Antony Johnston, Benjamin J. Myers, Nikhil Singh, John Harris-Dunning, Amy Lankester-Owen, Louisa Leaman, John Rowley and Sara Starbuck. 

Penny Holroyde - Holroyde Cartey Agency

Penny Holroyde has worked in children's publishing for over twenty years, first in the rights department at Walker Books and then as Director of Rights and Licensing for Candlewick Press in the United States.

She then worked as an agent at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency for ten years before founding Holroyde Cartey in 2015 with former Hodder Art Director, Claire Cartey.

Holroyde Cartey represents several author/illustrator clients such as Jenni Desmond, Tor Freeman, Debi Gliori, Tim Hopgood, Paul Howard, Chris Mould and Sam Usher but don't insist that all clients can do both. Holroyde Cartey represent texts for picture books through to YA. They're currently looking for picture books and young fiction that is funny, poignant animal stories, middle-grade adventure with a light fantasy touch and sophisticated contemporary YA, anything with an original voice.

Booking and payment

How to Hook an Agent

The price for this event is £175, including lunch and the opportunity to purchase a copy of the latest edition of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook or the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook at a discounted price.

Bookings can be made by either clicking on the 'Book' buttons at the top and bottom of this page, or by calling 0207 631 5985.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other How to Hook an Agent events here.

Event details

The event will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. Doors will open at 9.30am, with workshops starting at 10am prompt.


The half day session was excellent . I went into it thinking I am 75% of the way to my goal of getting something published. After the session I realised that I am really maybe only 50% of the way to that, but that is okay as all of the speakers were pragmatic, yet friendly and enthusiastic about the writing process. I came out thinking that it was money well spent as it will allow me to avoid a few of the pitfalls of the process. I would certainly recommend the course, venue and organisation - even with the time and effort to get from Scotland. Christine Thom

Julia and Sallyanne were both really open and shattered the illusion that agents are hard, business types who make brutal decisions on a whim. They were empathetic, encouraging, funny and warm. The 10-minute session I had with Sallyanne was really helpful too. Jules Bryant, How to Hook an Agent - Children & YA, June 2014

'I thought the entire day was extremely well organised, and to have the opportunity to sit down and discuss my book with an agent was a great end to the session. I felt like I learnt so much about the process of submission, and am now approaching my work with a fresh eye. Once again, thank you.' A writer from our February 2014 conference

'Thank you so much for the day. It has provided me with an invaluable experience. I have gained much more knowledge of how to write a better submission letter and have gained a clearer understanding of the the role of the literary agent and this will help me enormously when I am finally ready to submit my manuscript. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.' A writer from our February 2014 conference

'One-to-one chats with agents were a delight - productive and inspiring. The talks were also extremely useful and covered new ground.' Magda Knight

'The conference served its purpose very well. I left with the information I hoped to obtain. Also, I can't recall receiving more helpful advice on writing the introductory letter. This was enormously helpful.' Vee Fallon

'What was genuinely invaluable was hearing about the submission process directly from agents, being able to put questions, and discovering how the "nitty gritty! of an agent's business life works. That latter was an important insight. Over the years I've research and attended several workshops/seminars. I don't think I am alone when I say that for the first time I understand exactly what needs to go in the submission letter and the synopsis. And just why the two-sentence summary and the first paragraph are so important.' Geoffrey Arnold

'Professional and well-organized, I was impressed by the "tone" of the sessions, particularly the respect shown to aspiring authors.' R. Watt

'I thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt that I took a lot away in terms of understanding how I need to change my submission structure.' Helen Joy

'The day brought out, as no other way could have, the degree of subjectivity amongst agents and publishers. A lesson to be learned - and straight from the "horses' mouths".' Alan Hamilton

'Event was excellent & well worth the money. The one-to-one with the agent was fantastic and almost made the whole thing worthwhile in itself.' Anne-Marie Swift

'A really useful event - it was nice to put a human face to the agents and hear what they had to say. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to practice pitching my story to a real agent who specializes in my chosen area and obtain feedback on my idea. Incredibly useful - it's given me lots of food for thought and will hopefully help me improve.' Sarah Leavesley

'The approachability of the agents - they offered advice in a friendly, un-intimidating manner. The organization was also impeccable.' Luna Chatterjee

'Very helpful. Great advice and lovely meeting other writers on their different journeys. The professionals were great, warm and encouraging.' Mandie Hooson

'Very good. Interesting, encouraging, inspiring and a nice, friendly atmosphere.' Sarah Steele

'It was all I hoped and more. It was heartening to meet real live agents and to see how welcoming and interested they are. It was useful to practice a pitch and have instant feedback.' Mary J Howell

'Excellent. Really gave honest and practical advice. I think I was very lucky to have two such good and complimentary agents (Jo Unwin and Alex Christofi). Their passion and professionalism were palpable.' Tessa McGregor